The Brookings Insitutiona nonprofit public policy organization, has published a consensus statement, after studying the effects of innovations in early education systems from 57 different pre-K programs.

All members of the Task Force agreed on six consensus statements, which include:

  • Children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their learning experiences not only before and during their pre-K year, but also following the pre-K year;
  • There is often greater improvement for economically disadvantaged children and dual-language learners after a year of per-k than there is for more advantaged and English-proficient children;
  • Among the effectiveness factors that may make a difference are curricula that build foundational skills, professional development and coaching for teachers, and organized and engaging classrooms;
  • Convincing evidence on the longer-term impacts of contemporary scaled-up pre-K programs on academic outcomes and school progress is sparse, precluding broad conclusions.

The authors note that the increasing prevalence of pre-K programs provides an ideal laboratory to build upon existing research through additional rigorous analysis of programs over time. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia, through 57 pre-K programs, have introduced substantial innovations in their early education systems to accommodate pre-K programs that now serve nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds.

The authors conclude their consensus statement by emphasizing the promise of future research:

“The hard work of refining and improving these programs so that they can fully support the intellectual and social skills the nation will need in the future has just begun. Nonetheless, the scientific rationale, the uniformly positive evidence of impact on kindergarten readiness, and the nascent body of ongoing inquiry about long-term impacts lead us to conclude that continued implementation of scaled-up pre-K programs is in order as long as the implementation is accompanied by rigorous evaluation of impact.”

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